My recent article for the fabulous Rebelle Society:
Life is difficult and complicated. It’ll knock you sideways, upside down, and at times land you flat on your face. You’ll regain your footing, but if life isn’t ready for you to stand quite yet, you’ll be pushed into yet another direction with another roadblock, or another seemingly un-mountable wall to climb. You’ll hold the tremendous pain of something that may have happened or perhaps worse, the pain of something that never will, along with the crushing weight of anything and everything else that is sad in this world.
Let’s be honest- we all go through it.
C’est la vie.
“Woken by thinking
Into hours too small
to permit free association,
I lie beneath the weight
of night. Darkness crushes
like a room with shrinking walls.”
Life is also glorious and magnificent. In the depths of our darkest despair, the light sweeps it’s way back in as though the universe knew you couldn’t bear one more failure or disappointment, to take you by the hand, and whisper, “I am here. Come this way.” One door will open after the next, and everything will fall into place effortlessly, as if a path of petals unravels before you, leading the way to only joy and bliss.
"What can I do with my happiness? How can I keep it, conceal it, bury it where I may never lose it? I want to kneel as it falls over me like rain, gather it up with lace and silk, and press it over myself again."
Whether you’re in the sun, the shade, or the lingering stillness between, life will continue to change with sometimes shocking speed because no feeling or situation is ever final.
When we are young, some of us dramatize our very existence as though we are the only ones that “attract” the drama. Some of us pour the ups and downs into our art with great fury, creating sentences, music and vivid paintings. Some of us can’t seem to fathom why “what goes up must come down’, and vice versa, so unable to tolerate any uncertainty, so we become fearful of life itself, resisting any form of change at all.
Such efforts to control life won’t work; instead they will only confine us to smaller and smaller comfort zones, shrinking our individual worlds as we know them, and severely limiting us to experience any pleasure in life at all.
As we gather years under our belts, we should learn how to grow more capable of accepting the ups and downs as “normal”, and embrace the rollercoaster that is life. In Buddhism, the “it is what it is” quality is called such ness—tathata—in Sanskrit—as it is.
I remember as an impressionable teenager, I used to stand in great awe of my wise Grandmother’s nonchalant shrugs accompanied by knowing grins when life delivered yet another blow that I at the time, couldn’t possibly fathom handling in my own future. Now, I understand.
It’s liberating to recognize the struggle as an essential part of the learning process. We are too often so afraid of failure that we forget that the heartbreak, defeat, mistakes and regrets give us the very grit and strength we need to get through the next obstacle, as well as the humbleness we must acquire to appreciate the light; and the light will come back, as it always has.
As it is in nature, nothing is stagnant; everything is fluid and will change, which is crucial to our adaptation, and perfect in itself.
So embrace it; embrace everything: the light, the dark, the rising and the falling. The uncertainties are beautiful, and the wisdom acquired to carry with you forward even more so. Wake each morning with trust, and always allow yourself to be vulnerable whether you’re in the shadows or sun.
“Happy and sad, elated and miserable, secure and afraid,
loved and denied, patient and angry, peaceful and wild,
complete and empty…. all of it.
I would feel everything.
It would all be mine.”